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THE KU KLUX KLAN 
SECTION n 
1944 - 1958 


(Not for Dissemination Outside the Bureau) 


May, 1958 


Federal Bureau of Investigation 
United States Department of Justice 
John Edgar Hoover, Director 

81 


58 D 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 


Page 

PREFACE i 

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS ii 

A. Summary ii 

B. Conclusions iii 

CHARTS 


A. KLAN GROUPS - GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT 

B. KLAN GROUPS - ORIGINAL HEADQUARTERS CITIES 


I. THE KLAN REORGANIZES 1 


A. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc 1 

B. Association of Georgia Klans. . 3 

C. Ku Klux Klan of Florida, Inc. 6 

D. Federated Ku Klux Klans 7 

E. Original Southern Klans, Inc 11 

F. Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan 17 

H. THE FIGHT FOR CONTROL 25 


A. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of America ....... 25 

B. Associated Klans of America. ............ 26 

C. Association of Carolina Klans ............ 28 

D. National Ku Klux Klan 30 

HI. KLAN MOVEMENT MARKED BY FACTIONALISM .... 33 


A. U.S. Klans, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. ... 33 

B. Gulf Ku Klux Klan. 37 

C. Alabama Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc 38 

D. The Original Ku Klux Klan of the Confederacy. ... 39 

E. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of the Confederacy ... 40 



Page 


F. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. (Louisiana) ..... 42 

G. Knationai Christian Elan Kingdom, Inc. ........ 43 

H. How U. S. Klans, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan,, Inc., . . 

Sought New Members. ................ 44 

I. Association of South Carolina Klans ........... 46 

J. South Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. .... 48 

K. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (North Carolina) ..... 50 

L. Knights of the Kuklos Klan ................ 57 

M. Association of Florida Ku Klux Klan,. .......... 59 

N. Conscientious American Citizens Club ......... 63 

O. Florida Ku Klux Klan. .................. 63 

P. Bedford Forrest Club, Inc. ............... 65 

Q. Association of Alabama Knights of the Ku Klux Klan . . 66 

R. Tennessee Klans ..................... 67 

S. Dixie Klans, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. ..... 68 

T. N. C. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan ............ 69 

IV. REACTION TO THE KLAN 70 


A. Editorial Comment ................... 70 

B. The FBI and the Klan. .................. 74 


PREFACE 


This monograph, Section n of a two-part study on the Ku KIux Klan, 
is devoted to Klan activities from 1944 to 1958. During this period, there 
has been a significant change in the Klan picture. The Klan is no longer one 
organization under central control. It has degenerated into many individual 
Klan groups, whose promoters have taken advantage of the integration problem 
in the South to advance their own organizations. This monograph depicts the 
major developments in this ever-changing Klan picture and shows how the 
traditional Klan antagonisms against Negroes, Jews, Catholics, and persons 
of foreign birth have been utilized by Klan promoters to further Klan interests. 

Material used in this Section came from public sources and from 
the FBI's coverage of Klan activities. Confidential material is included. 


SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 

A. Summary 

On June 4, 1944, Imperial Wizard James A. Colescott announced 
that Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. , had suspended operations. Dr. Samuel 
Green immediately formed the Association of Georgia Klans, which remained 
the do min ant Klan organization until Green’s death in 1949. Samuel W. Roper 
succeeded Green, but the Association of Georgia Klans gradually became 
inactive. In the meantime, promoters were organizing other Klan groups. 

Klan activities subsided temporarily after a wave of terroristic acts 
culminated in the imprisonment in 1952 of Thomas L. Hamilton, South 
Carolina Klan leader, and others involved in violence. Klan activities 
increased rapidly after the United States Supreme Court decision on May 17, 
1954, concerning segregation in the public schools. Factionalism and 
rivalry were prevalent among the many new Klan groups which were being 
formed all over the South. U.S. Klans, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. , 
formed by Eldon L. Edwards in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1953, and chartered by 
the State of Georgia in 1955, has emerged as the largest and best-known 
Klan in existence today. 


- ii - 


B. Conclusions 


1. No longer is it proper to speak merely of "The Klan, " except in 
the most general sense. "The Klan" today is not one organization 
under central control, but is composed of many independent Klan 
groups. 

2. Klan leadership is mediocre, at best. Bickering and dissension 
within and between Klans are commonplace. 

3. The traditional Klan intolerances remain unchanged- -antagonism 
toward Negroes, Jews, Catholics, and persons of foreign birth. 

4. The integration problem in the South has provided Klan promoters 
with a "cause" upon which to base their activities. 

5. Under the pretense of being patriotic, Christian fraternal 
organizations, the various Klans utilize the traditional Klan 
antagonisms to secure members in their campaign for "White 
Supremacy" and against integration. 

6. Officially, Klan leaders deny that their organizations condone 
violence. In actual practice, inflammatory methods are used 
which ultimately can only lead to violence. 

7. Although Southern sentiment is overwhelmingly against enforced 
integration of the races, Klan methods of combatting integration 
have resulted in the Klan’s being discredited by responsible press 
and civic leaders throughout the South. 


- iii - 





















KLAN GROUPS -ORIGINAL HEADQUARTERS CITIES 


TENNESSEE (CLANS . 


KNIGHTS OF THE KU KLUX KLAN, INC. 

ASSOCIATION OF GEORGIA (CLANS 
ASSOCIATED (CLANS OF AMERICA 

U. S. KLANS OF GEORGIA, KNIGHTS OF THE KU KLUX KLAN 
U. S. KLANS, KNIGHTS OF THE KU KLUX KLAN, INC. 


DIXIE KLANS, KNIGHTS OF THE XU KLUX KLAN, INC. 


.SOUTH CAROLINA KNIGHTS OF THE KU KLUX KLAN, INC. 

. SOUTH CAROLINA KNIGHTS OF THE KU KLUX KLAH 
. INDEPENDENT KNIGHTS OF THE KU KLUX KLAN 
NATIONAL KU KLUX KLAN, KNIGHTS OF THE KU KLUX KLAN 
OF SOUTH CAROLINA 


KNIGHTS OF THE KU KLUX KLAN OF THE CONFEDERACY . 
THE ORIGINAL KU KLUX KLAN OF THE CONFEDERACY . 

ALABAMA KU KLUX KLAN, INC. . 
ALABAMA KNIGHTS OF THE KU KLUX KLAN, INC. . 

FEDERATED KU KLUX KLANS . 


.KNIGHTS OF THE KU KLUX KLAN (N. C.) 
. N. C. KNIGHTS OF THE KU KLUX KLAH 


KNIGHTS OF THE KUKLOS KLAH . 


KNIGHTS OF THE KO KLUX KLAH OF AMERICA. 


^ Greenville S.C.^ 
Leesvllle -Columbia 


. ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH CAROLINA KLANS 
. ASSOCIATION OF CAROLINA KLANS 
. ORIGINAL SOUTHERN KLANS, INC. 


Denham Springs f 
Baton Rougef ? 


. BEDFORD FORREST CLUB, INC. 
. FLORIDA KU KLUX KLAN 


KNIGHTS OF THE KU KLUX KLAH, INC. (LA.)_/ / 

KNATIONAL CHRISTIAN KLAN KINGDOM, INC / 

GULF KU KLUX KLAN . 
ASSOCIATION OF ALABAMA KNIGHTS OF THE KU KLUX KLAN . 

SOUTHERN KNIGHTS OF THE KU KLUX KLAN . 


. KU KLUX KLAH OF FLORIDA, INC. 


ASSOCIATION OF FLORIDA KU KLUX KLAH. 
CONSCIENTIOUS AMERICAN CITIZENS CLUB. 


.DADE COUNTY HUNTSMEN'S ASSOCIATION 


CHART B 


This chart indicates the headquarters cities of various Klan groups at 
the time they were formed. Some Klans engage in widespread Klan activ- 
ities; others are local in nature. Both active and inactive Klans are 
I i sted. 



I. THE KLAN REORGANIZES 


A. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. 

Faced with United States Government demands for back taxes of 
$685, 305 for Hie years 1921 through 1924 and for 1926, James Ac Colescott, 
then Imperial Wizard, announced on June 4, 1944, that at a secret KLonvocation 
(convention) held in Atlanta on April 23, 1944, the Klan had "voted to suspend 
the constitutional laws of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. , to revoke all 
charter Klans and to order disbandment of all provisional Elans. " He added, 
significantly: 

"This does not mean that the Klan is dead. We simply have 
released local chapters from all obligations, financial and 
otherwise, to the Imperial Headquarters. I still am Imperial 
Wizard. The other officials still retain their titles, although, 
of course, the functions of all of us are suspended. We have 
authority to meet and reincarnate at any time. " 

This was the end of Colescott, for he drifted into obscurity as a 
Florida veterinarian. And it was the beginning of the end of the Klan as a 
national institution. But the basic intolerances which have been the traditional 
lifeblood of the Klan and similar organizations still existed. Over the years, 
the name Ku Klux Klan and its symbol, the fiery cross, had become synonymous 
with activities directed against Negroes, Jews, Catholics, and persons of 



foreign birth. Responsible Southern leaders denounce the Klan and its 
terroristic methods, but in the pressures created by changing social 
conditions in the South, there are always those who seek to capitalize on 
the Klan’s name and tradition, either for personal profit or in a misguided 
belief that Klan practices are necessary, or both* 

Until 1944, one organization, for all practical purposes, controlled 
all Klan activities. This was the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. , which 
operated under a charter granted by the State of Georgia. When Colescott 
suspended operations of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc., in 1944 (and 
the State of Georgia revoked its charter in 1947), the field was open to anyone 
who wanted to capitalize on the Klan name to promote his own brand of 
intolerance. This has created a great deal of confusion, not only among 
Klansmen but among the press and the general public. No longer was it 
possible to attribute acts merely to "the Klan, ” except in a very general 
sense of the word. The specific Klan organization has to be pinpointed in 
each case. This is not always easy to do. 

The various Klan organizations themselves have not been stable. 
Constant bickering within and between Klan groups, mergers, reorganizations, 
and the shifting of membership and leaders from one group to another have 


- 2 - 



been normal procedure. In some cases, the rank-and-file members have not 
always been too sure to which group they owed their allegiance. Leadership, 
at best, has been mediocre. As one Florida Klan leader put it in May, 1957: 
"We have too many chiefs and not enough Indians to stage a war dance. ” He 
complained that there were so many Klans in operation in his area that the old 
countersigns and passwords would not work any more and suggested, albeit 
facetiously, that ’’members should be forced to be stamped with the branding 
iron or clip their ears with a leather punch like farmers mark their livestock. ” 

B. Association of Georgia Klans * 

Twenty-eight days after the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. , 
voted to suspend operations, and two weeks before Colescott made his public 
announcement that this action had been taken, a new organization was formed 
to continue Klan activities. This new organization stoutly denied any legal 
connections with its predecessor and claimed to be an informal, unincorporated 
association of local Georgia klaverns (local Klan units) which had decided to 
unite informally to continue Klan work until such time as the Knights of the 
Ku Klux Klan, Inc. , might decide to reactivate itself. No secret was made of 
the fact that this new group continued the beliefs, ritualistic practices, and 
other activities of the now inactive Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. 

♦Designated by the Attorney General pursuant to Executive Order 10450. 


-3 


The new organization was called the Association of Georgia Klans. 

It was formed on May 21, 1944, by Dr. Samuel Green, a middle-aged, small- 
mustached, Atlanta physician who had been the Exalted Cyclops (president) of 
an Atlanta klavern of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. Green assumed 
the title of Grand Dragon of Georgia, in keeping with his pronouncements that 
the Association of Georgia Klans had no organizational ties with Klan groups in 
other states. 

The first open Klan demonstration after the close of World War n 
was a cross burning atop Stone Mountain, Georgia* traditional Klan shrine, 
on the night of October 16, 1945. This was followed by a mass "naturalization" 
(initiation) under the flickering lights of five fiery crosses at the same location 
on May 9, 1946 . Recruiting efforts were stepped up. Using "White Supremacy" 
and "Fight Communism" as slogans, Green soon extended his activities into 
surrounding states. Naturally, part of each "klectoken” (initiation fee) 
collected was supposed to go to headquarters in Atlanta. 

Green set the pattern for most of the Klan groups which were soon to 
spring up all over the South. The Klan was held out as a great, patriotic, 
American institution dedicated to the protection of the American way of life 
from those who would destroy it. The Klan ritual, as composed by William J. 
Simmons in the Kloran of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. , was used with 


- 4 - 


minor, if any, changes. Unlawful, terroristic acts were not to be condoned, 
and when such acts were blamed on the Klan, Klan participation would be 
denied. When proof existed that Klan members had engaged in such activities, 
the offending members or klaverns would be officially ’’banished" with all 
possible publicity. Although the Klan would not officially condone or authorize 
terroristic acts, Klan leaders often assured members that what they did of 
their own volition was their own business. It was a fine line of distinction. 

In addition to the profit motive, Green aspired to be a political 
power in Georgia. He threw the support of the Klan to the gubernatorial 
campaigns of Eugene Talmadge (1946) and Herman Talmadge (1948), both 
advocates of white supremacy. He is reported to have forbidden Klansmen to 
hold demonstrations or parades on the day or two before election in the Fall 
of 1948 because the United States Government might consider such acts 
intimidation and a violation of the civil rights of Negro voters. Governor M. E. 
Thompson of Georgia later publicly charged that there had been more than 
300 public demonstrations by the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia on the eve of the 
Democratic state primary election. 

Whatever Green’s aspirations and motives may have been, they were 
cut short abruptly on August 18, 1949, when he fell dead of a heart attack. 


- 5 - 


In the five years of his leadership, Green had welded the Association of 
Georgia Klans into the largest Klan group then in existence. 

C. Ku Klux Klan of Florida, Inc . 

The Miami, Florida, unit of the old Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. , 
had maintained a post-office box In Miami under the name of J. B. Gordon Klan. 
After Colescott suspended operations of the national organization, a new group 
was chartered by the State of Florida on September 7, 1944, under the name 
of Ku Klux Klan of Florida, Inc. , with headquarters in Orlando. 

On March 28, 1946, the Miami Herald noted that "local bigots are busy 
pumping life again" into the Miami Elan. The John B. Gordon Klan, No. 5, 
erected signs on highways leading into Miami welcoming prospective Klan 
members. -\ 

The John B. Gordon Klan, No. 5, was one of the more active units in 
Florida. In 1946, the Exalted Cyclops was a bridgetender and carpenter. 

Other offices were filled by an airline mechanic, an automobile mechanic, a 
typesetter, a bus driver, a carburetor repairman, and the operator of a 
mattress company. The purpose of the group, as put by one admitted member, 
was to establish an organization for "pure Americanism, and to keep the Jews, 
niggers. Catholics, and foreigners in their place. " 


- 6 - 



b7C 


In September, 1946, 


Florida, and member of John B. Gordon Klan, No. 5, 


bee am 


jfor the Ku Klux Klan of Florida, Inc. By the 
Summer of 1947, however, Klan members in Miami became dissatisfied with 
haying to turn over a portion of all dues collected to state headquarters in 
Orlando, feeling that they were not getting a fair return for their money. 

John B, Gordon Klan, No, 5, became an b7C 


independent Klan group under the cover name Dade County Huntsmen's 
Association. The women's auxiliary changed its name to The Friendship 
Circle. It was a change in name only- -the aims and purposes of the organi- 
zations remained the same. 


D. Federated Ku Klux Klans 

On July 17, 1946, three Jefferson County, Alabama, men applied 
for an Alabama charter for an organization to be known as Federated Ku Klux 
Klans, with headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama. Incorporators were 
William Hugh Morris, a roofing contractor; Robert S. Gulledge, Sr. , a 
Birmingham realtor; and Dr. E.P. Pruitt, a 70-year-old Birmingham physician. 
The articles of incorporation stated that this new group would act as a social, 
fraternal, religious, eleemosynary, educational, patriotic, and philanthropic 
society, and listed the following purposes: 


- 7 - 





1. Teaching and inculcating loyalty to the constitutions and laws of the 
United States and Alabama. 

2. Upholding and teaching the doctrines as exemplified in the ” Holy Bible 
and New Testament. ” 

3. Teaching of respect and reverence for the United States flag. 

4. Assisting and supporting duly and legally constituted authority in 
the enforcement of criminal laws of the United States. 

5. Upholding and protecting the chastity of all white womanhood. 

6. Supporting the theory and doctrine of the supremacy of the Caucasian 
race in America. 

Morris, the leader of the group, assumed the office of treasurer, 
and Pruitt took the title of chairman of the board of governors. 

In an effort to attract members, the Federated Ku Klux Klans held 
an open meeting at the Court House in Birmingham, Alabama, on April 17, 
1947. At this meeting, Gulledge announced: 

M The Klan is not a hate group. It is not intolerant toward 
any race, creed or color. Rather, we have come to save 
the Negro from his own folly. M 

An editorial in the April 18, 1947, issue of the Birmingham Post 
commented that "the KKK bared its fangs last night at the Court House and 
displayed only abad set of false teeth. M 

- 8 - 


In October, 1947, Morris and four of his followers were arrested 
in Jackson, Mississippi, on charges of malicious mischief and carrying 
concealed weapons after being apprehended burning a cross near Jackson. Their 

i , 

explanation of their activities is interesting. They said they had come to 
Jackson in response to an anonymous letter requesting their aid because the 
’’Negroes were getting out of control” in Jackson. They said the burning of the 
cross was to inform the unknown letter writer that his appeal had been received 
and that they were ready to assist in the organization of a Klan unit in Jackson. 

Floggings, cross burnings, and other acts of intimidation became 
so prevalent in Alabama by early 1949 that a grand jury was ordered into special 
session to investigate the situation. On July 7, 1949, Morris refused to produce 
membership lists of his organization when requested to do so by the grand jury. 
He was cited for contempt and ordered to jail. Finally, after claiming that 
Klan records had been stolen from his home, he submitted a partial list from 
memory and was released from custody on September 20, 1949, after serving 
67 days on the contempt charge. 

Efforts by the State of Alabama to ban the public wearing of masks 
or hoods met with bitter opposition from the Klan. Morris told a legislative 
committee that such an act would be ”an insult to the men who wore the hood 


- 9 - 


and robe in the ’60s and '70s. " He said that today's Klansmen were "blood 

descendants of those men, who have taken the same name and same robe that 

• __ b7C 


they had, for the same reason. " 



Alabama, 


Morris, told the committee 


he would rather be hanged from the balcony over the steps of the Capitol building 


(where Jefferson Davis was inaugurated), than have the masks taken from the 


Klan. 


More will be heard about 


and his Klan activities 


ih subsequent pages. 

The Alabama antimask measure became law on June 28, 1949. 
Anticipating this action, Pruitt announced on June 25, 1949, that members of 
Federated Ku Klux Klaus would no longer wear masks in public. This created 


b7C 


hard feelings between Morris and Pruitt, Morris clai m i n g that Pruitt had over- 
stepped his authority in issuing the order. On July 21, 1949, Pruitt resigned, 
stating that elements had "wormed their way into the Klan — men who used Klan 


robes to go out and whip people. ” 

It is ironic that two Negro youths became the first persons to be 
convicted under the new antimask law. They were convicted on August 5, 1949, 
for donning hoods and sheets to scare two Negro girls who had been seen 
associating with white men. 


- 10 - 





E. Original Southern Klans, Inc. * 

Dr. Samuel Green personally went to Columbus, Georgia, on 
March 12, 1948, to present a charter to a new klavern of the Association of 
Georgia KLans in Columbus. Preliminary arrangements had been made by 
Fred New ant ^ 

Fred New was an attorney in Columbus, Georgia. He had been an 
Assistant United States Attorney at Macon, Georgia, from 1930 to 1933, and 
a special investigator for the Treasury Department from 1938 to 1941, when 
his heavy drinking allegedly cost him his job. A former associate described 
New as "unscrupulous, smart but crooked. " 



Columbus, Georgia. The Georgia Tribune about 1946 as a b7c 

pro~Klan, anti-Negro, anti- Jewish newspaper, and this editorial policy was 
continued after sold The Georgia Tribune to Fred New in March, 1948. 

The charter ceremony on March 12, 1948, was just another Klan 
ceremonial until newspapermen appeared to take pictures. Klansmen attacked 
the newspapermen, administered whiskey and drugs to render them unconscious, 


and photographed them in compromising positions. Prior to the attack, the 
newspapermen had recognized Dr. Green, Fred New, and 

as being among the Klansmen present at the charter ceremony. 
♦Designated by the Attorney General pursuant to Executive Order 10450. 


- 11 - 





New 


Barely three months later, under the behind-the-scenes guidance of 
the Columbus, Georgia, and the Manchester, Georgia, 


klaverns of the Association of Georgia Klans withdrew from Green’s organization 
to form a new Klan called Original Southern Klans, Inc. In June, 1948, a charter 
for this new group was issued in Superior Court in Columbus, Georgia, to 


Alton E. Pate, 23 -year -old war veteran; Louis A. Hill; andT.C. Colwell; all 
of Columbus. Green branded the action as an uprising by "Bolshevik Klans which 
pulled out because they couldn’t run things themselves. " New later told a news- 
paper reporter that he broke with Green's organization because Green was in it 


for profit only. 

To avoid the legal flaw which ultimately led to the revocation of the 
charter of the old Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc., as a nonprofit corporation, 
Original Southern Klans, Inc., was openly chartered as a profit-making group, 
although Pate was quick to point out that this merely meant that it would be 
operated "for the common profit of all America" and that the stockholders 
expected to realize "no return on the money they have placed in escrow as an 
investment in the American future. " According to the articles of incorporation. 
Original Southern Klans, Inc. , was formed to organize and operate fraternal, 

i 

benevolent, and patriotic secret orders. The stated purpose was to gather and 


b7C 


- 12 = 



disseminate information relative to the organization, activities, and operation 
of the Co mmunis t Party and its related organizations in North America, and 
to use such information for lawful purposes to defeat the goals and objectives 
of the Communist Party on this continent. 

Pate was more candid in his first public announcements. After 
stating that his first public act would be the banning of the traditional Klan 
mask and that rowdiness and acts erf terrorism would not be tolerated, he 
listed the following eight-point program for Original Southern Klans, Inc. : 

1. Defense of Protestant Americanism. 

2. Opposition to blending the white race with any other race. 

3. Maintenance of the Southern white man's political superiority. 

4. Preventing political demonstration of any inferior minority 
group. 

5. Justice and equal laws and law enforcement. 

6. Better schools, churches, recreational facilities, and housing 
facilities for minority groups in the South under strictly 
segregated conditions. 

7. Teaching the principles of Americanism to minority groups 
in the South. 

8. Opposition to the teachings of the Communist Party which 
embody the advocacy of sexual equality under the guise of 
social equality. 


- 13 - 


Original Southern Klans, Inc. , departed from the standard Klan ritual 
originally composed by William J. Simmons and still used with minor variations 
by most Klan organizations. A new Klans man’s Manual was issued in which 


the Terrors (officers) were listed as follows: 

Grand Cyclops - - **_*■**■"■ ■* — President 

Grand Magi Vice President 

Grand Chaplain - - . Spiritual Advisor 

Grand Monk - - Teacher 

Grand Scribe Secretary 

Grand Exchequer - ™ - Treasurer 

Grand Turk Captain of the Guard 

Grand Sentinel - - - ------ Adjutant to the Grand 

Cyclops 


In maintaining the pretense of being fraternal orders, most Klans 
advertise a series of degrees which allegedly can be earned by worthy members. 
Original Southern Klans, Inc. , was no exception. The Klans man’s Manual 


listed four degrees: 

Degree One - Probation Knight 

Degree Two - = Sir Knight of the Klan 

Degree Three — — — — — - — - Giants of the Klan 

Degree Four - -- -- — Men of Justice 


- 14 - 


Although Pate announced that terrorism was not to be allowed, the 

ritual contained many phrases of an inflammatory nature. Membership was 

limited to "native born, white, Gentile, Protestant American citizens of gopd 

c har acter and reputation who are interested in the maintenance of the 

Southern pattern of life and who are witting to fight militantly therefor. " In 

the opening ritual, the Grand Cyclops states as follows: 

"My Ghosts and Terrors: The night is long and the day filled 
with grave doubt. Only the steadfast devotion of loyal brothers 
united in a common love of our Southland can save her from 
destruction. We are sworn; we are brave and we must be 
ready. Tonight the hour may strike and we must meet the 
challenge with fearless heart and ready hands.” 

Later in the ritual, the Grand Cyclops further exhorts: 

"Be faithful Klansmen; be militant; be courageous; the blood 
Americans have spilled shall not have been in vain. We will 
have peace and we shall have the rights for which we foasgM, 
if we must fight for them afresh every day." 

In the closing ritual, the Grand CyclspS asks; 

"Grand Turk, how do we retain the principles of tfe KSaa?" 

The ritual calls for the Grand Turk to rise and state* 

"By right, if we can; by might, if we must. " 

Original Southern Klans, Inc., started the usual campaign to get 
new members, featuring parades, public rallies, and cross burnings. New’s 
station wagon, equipped on the front with an electric cross, was a regular 


- 15 - 



feature at these gatherings. Speakers included 


and 

who said he had resigned the pastorate of a Baptist 
church in Atlanta "to go into Klan work. " Both claimed to have been Klan 
members for over 20 years. White supremacy was their keynote, with the 
Communist Party as the villain that was trying to do away with "the Southern 


way of life. " 

Despite such elaborate preparations, Original Southern Klans, Inc., b7c 
was not a success. Pate, Hill, and Colwell, the original incorporators, 
soon dropped from sight. By the Fall of 1948, H. R. Stewart was acting as 
Kleagle (membership solicitor) and F.E. Keith was signing as Executive 
Secretary "By order of the Grand Wizard. " Both Stewart and Keith were 


Columbus, Georgia, taxicab drivers. When the search for members, 


accompanied by the usual parades, extended into the northern part of Florida, 
Governor Fuller Warren of Florida publicly stated: 


"The hooded hoodlums and sheeted jerks who paraded 
the streets of Tallahassee last night made a disgusting 
and alarming spectacle. These covered cowards, who call 
themselves Klansmen, quite obviously have set out to 
terrorize minority groups in Florida as they have in a 
nearby State. ” 


Fred New 


the real powers behind 


Original Southern Klans, Inc. , disagreed over how the organization should 


- 16 - 





be run, and New is reported to have left town with the records. By May, 1949, 
Original Southern Klans, Inc. , had ceased to exist as an organized group. 

F. Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan 

Before Original Southern Klans, Inc. , went out of existence, it had 
extended its organizational activities into the State of Florida. On March 31, 
1949, a copy of the charter was filed with the Florida Secretary of State as a 
prerequisite to doing business in Florida. Bill Hendrix, a Tallahassee, 
Florida, electrician and builder, was listed as the local agent in Florida for 
Original Southern Klans, Inc. 

Hendrix was to develop into one of the most indefatigable and 
unpredictable of postwar Klan promoters. He is a great publicity seeker, 
with a penchant for issuing exaggerated news releases, more often than not 
based upon pure imagination. 

When Original Southern Klans, Inc., went put of existence, Hendrix 
gathered together the remnants in southern Georgia and northern Florida to 
form an organization of his own. In August, 1949, he announced the formation 
of a new Klan group to be called Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, some- 
times referred to by him as Southern and Northern Knights of the Ku Kliuix 
Klan. He said his new organization was a reincarnation of the "original 


17 - 


invisible empire” and claimed 302 chapters and 650, 000 members in 12 
Southern states, plus New York and New Jersey. He said the purpose of his 
Klan was to fight ”f antastic taxation, regimentation, and a threat of a 
communist state. " 

Hendrix announced that he had been named Adjutant for Southern 
Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. He introduced a new "gimmick” in Klan 
promotion by announcing that all other officers were to remain anonymous, 
the Emperor taking the title of Samuel H and the Wizard a seven-digit number, 
4-006800. | of Jacksonville, Florida, 

ational Chaplain of Hendrix' group. 

The usual program of cross burnings and parades was instituted to 
attract members. Hendrix told reporters that his group did not believe in 
violence and would not engage in floggings, beatings, threats, and like 
activities. "We don't hate the Negroes, " he said. Early in August, 1949, 
however, robed Klansmen parading in Iron City, Georgia, became involved in 
a shooting scrape with local citizens which resulted in the arrest of three 
Klansmen, including Hendrix and W. B. Rogers, an associate from Tallahassee, 
Florida. 



- 18 - 


Hendrix was not one to overlook any possible source for new 
members. In September, 1950, he addressed a letter to the FBI inviting 
membership "of any White Protestant, Christian Agent" in his Southern 
Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. 

In the Fall of 1952, a special Federal grand jury was convened in 

Miami to investigate terrorism in Florida. On March 25, 1953, this grand 

jury reported its findings. It described the Ku Klux Klan as a "cancerous 

growth as destructive of basic civil liberties as communism itself. " It 

reported that the Klan was founded on the worst instincts of mankind: 

"At its best, it is intolerant and bigoted. At its 
worst, it is sadistic and brutal. " 

Hendrix announced on April 29, 1953, that he had severed all 
connections with Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, and that be bad called 
on the organization to disband "because they have carried out their intended 
program set up in 1948. " On June 20, 1953, however, in a typical Hendrix 
press release, Hendrix announced that a secret meeting of 299 Klansmen and 
sympathizers in Columbus, Georgia, had on that date elected him Imperial 
Emperor of United Ku Klux Klans, formed to combat nonsegregation which he 
said was "a communist program to take over America. " Southern Knights 


- 19 - 


of the Ku KIux Klan was to be part of this new Klan, according to Hendrix. 
United Ku Klux Klans, of course, neveT materialized. 

On June 23, 1953, in Tallahassee, Florida, Hendrix obtained an 
evangelist’s permit and a license to run a secret service agency which he 
called National Secret Service Agency. Two days later, Hendrix, who had 
been an unsuccessful candidate for Governor of Florida in 1952, announced 

that he would run again. On June 29, 1953, he announced that 

“ Grand Dragon of the Southern Knights of the Ku 


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Klux Klan. 

The fact that he had previously announced that Southern Knights of 
the Ku Klux Klan had been disbanded did not dismay Hendrix. His explanation 
was that he had tried repeatedly to disband the group, but "we can’t because 
some bunch always runs out and forms an independent group and gets us in 


trouble. *’ 


On October 13, 1953, Hendrix, through Grand Dragod 


issued 


a startling announcement. Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan would henceforth 
discard its robes and rituals and would open its ranks to *'all races, creeds or 


colors. ’’ The Klan still believed that ’’segregation of the races is the law of 
God, ” but Negroes were invited to join on a segregated basis and form their own 
klaverns. The only membership requirements,! 


paid, were to "believe 


in God and the Constitution of the United States’’ <=“ and to pay a $1. 00 fee. 


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= 20 - 





Needless to say, Hendrix’ announcement found little support among 

other Elan leaders and members. 

On June 9, 1954, Hendrix announced the formation of a new group 
called The White Brotherhood, which he said was pledged to preserve 
segregation by legal means. He said that the Klan all over the country had been 
broken up and that this successor group would operate as a religious group, 
would have no uniforms, and would ’’try to avoid killing and violence. ” Hendrix 
subsequently told an informant that this announcement had been entirely 
fictitious and that he had made it merely to confuse the public and the FBI as 

a 

to the activities of the Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and related Klan 
organizations. 

Hendrix continued his organizational efforts, taking advantage of 
every opportunity to secure publicity for himself and his activities. He sold 
memberships in a series of organizations which he devised to attract new 
members, using such names as American Confederate Army, White Democrats 
of the South, Order of Bethel, and National Secret Service Association. In 
May, 1955, he sent the following news release to The Evening Star newspaper 
in Washington, D. C.: 

’’After two years of underground organizing the Knights of the 

Ku Klux Klan will start a public program against De-segergation. 

The public should now know that things laid on the Klan were not 


- 21 - 


true, there have been many bombings and riots in the last two years 
in the northern states and some in the south recently, these bombings 
in the south were laid on the unions when in fact they were done by the 
commies. The Klan has elected officers for the next two years and 
will come out openly against De-segergation. De-segergation is a commu 
nist trick and the Supreme Court has never built one school house in 
the south, it is better to do away with the public school than it is to mix 
the white and negro race. The schools were built by white people, and 
we will either have white and negro schools seperate or we will have 
no public schools. The Klan officers will be known by number only from 
now on, except those officers who are in charge of programs and 
organizing. We will retain the robe and mask in our meeting halls and 
on private property. 

"Bill Hendrix of Tallahassee, Florida has been elected director of 
organizing and programs and all releases will come through him and 
his workers. We are asking the two hundred thousand old Klan members 
in the south to Re -instate . 

"Once a Klaus man always a Klansman. 

0168 

Grand Wizzard 

Washington, D. C." 

An informant had previously advised that Hendrix was again dreaming of 
big things for himself in Klan organizing. Hendrix was reported as saying that he 
was going to drop "Southern" from the name of hiB group and operate as Knights 
of the Ku KLux Klan. He proposed to have a theoretical headquarters in Washington, 
D.C., with a fictitious Imperial Wizard at the head. Neither the Imperial Wizard 
nor ihe headquarters would actually exist, but Hendrix would hold himself out as the 
national organizer ostensibly following the instructions of the mythical Imperial 


- 22 - 


Wizard. The news release set forth was apparently issued as part of this 
scheme. 

In August, 1955, Hendrix announced that he would again run for 
Governor of Florida on a slogan of ’’Dollars for Segregation. ” In January, 1956, 
he addressed a letter to the United States Department of Justice in Washington, 
D. C. y on a letterhead of Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, in which he advised that 
’’every klavern and branch of the Klan which I represented has now been dis- 
banded and all our records are being stored for future reference. ” However, 
in August, 1956, he issued an announcement to the effect that he was reorgan- 
izing the Klan on a national scale. He began bringing John Kasper, the 
controversial prosegregationist from Washington, D. C. , into his Klan 
activities. The Miami Daily News carried a story on March 4, 1957, to the 
effect that Hendrix had announced that he would send 35 riflemen to Miami to 
’’protect” Kasper when he spoke there, stating that the armed guards were part 
of his American Confederate Army, which he had organized to fight integration. 

Hendrix' penchant for ’’phony” publicity was climaxed at a rally of 
the Association of South Carolina Klans held on April 20, 1957, at Greenville, 
South Carolina. Hendrix appeared in Greenville, apparently uninvited and 
unannounced, and told a local reporter that he had come to integrate the South 


23 - 


Carolina KLan group into his organization. He said a meeting o£ his "Imperial 
Council" would take place that night after the rally. There is no indication 
that this was anything more than another figment of Hendrix’ imagination, but 
Hendrix later told the reporter that the meeting of his "Imperial Council" had 
taken place and that one of the resolutions passed was that membership in his 
group would now be open to Catholics. 



n. THE FIGHT FOR CONTROL 


A. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of America 

At the time of Dr. Green's death on August 18, 1949, the Association 
of Georgia Klans was the largest and best known of all Klan groups. His death 
precipitated a fight for Klan leadership, which involved not only leaders of 
the Association of Georgia Klans but leaders of other groups as well. William 
Hugh Morris, leader of the Federated Ku Klux Klans, was handicapped by 
the fact that he was still in jail in Birmingham, Alabama, for refusing to 
produce Klan. records for the grand jury. Thomas L. Hamilton, an organizer 
for the Association of Georgia Klans in South Carolina, wanted to succeed 
Green. Bill Hendrix was aspiring to make his new organization in Florida the 
dominant Klan group. A new contender appeared in the person of an eccentric 

former On 

1: 

August 23, 1949j announced that several Klan groups had joined together 

to form a new organization, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of America, and had 

elected him to the office of Imperial Emperor. He said that headquarters of 

Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of America would be in Montgomery, Alabama, 

and claimed that the new organization would start with 265, 000 members, 

principally in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, and 

Louisiana. Klan groups allegedly participating in Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of 

America were listed as the Independent Klans, Seashore Klans, Ozark Klans, 

Star Klans, River Valley Klans, and Allied Klans. 

- 25 ~ 




As it turned out, Samuel W. Roper, 54-year -old former Atlanta 
policeman and onetime head of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, who had 
served as the Exalted Cyclops of an Atlanta klavern of the Association of 
Georgia Klans, succeeded Green as Imperial Wizard on August 27, 1949. Three 



B. Associated Klans of America* 


Referral /Direct 


On September 24, 1949, Roper announced that the Association of 

I Knights of the Ku Klux KLan of America 


Georgia Klans had merged withl 


to form the Associated Klans of America, with Roper as Imperial Wizard and 
as Imperial Chaplain and Public Relations Counselor. Actually, 


Associated Klans of America never became more than a paper organization. 



association with Roper lasted only a few months. 


Roper never attained the stature of Green as a Klan leader. Georgia, 
traditionally, has been the fountainhead of Klan activities, but Roper was not 
an apt leader and he was beset with many difficulties. 


♦Designated by the Attorney General pursuant to Executive Order 10450. 


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- 26 - 


Referral /Direct 





Recruiting efforts continued, however. Speakers at public rallies 
emphasized white supremacy and criticized the Administration’s civil rights 
measures. 


became Imperial Kligrapp (secretary) and Roper’s 


principal assistant. At a fiery-cross meeting at Gray, Georgia,, on October 21, 
|c ailed on the Klan to fight the United Nations, "whose charter says 


1951, 


you must sleep with Negroes, support the government of Israel and let the 
Roman Catholic Church tear up our school system. ’’ 

In January, 1950, 


for 


William Hugh Morris' Federated Ku Klux Klans, joined forces with Roper after 


being "banished" from the Federated Ku Klux Klans after an argument with 


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Morris. 


|was ousted from his position as National 

Chaplain of the Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan after an argument with 
Bill Hendrix, and he too joined with Roper in the position of Klokard (lecturer) 


and editor of The American Klansman . 

The Association of Georgia Klans gradually became inactive. A few 
years later, a new Klan leader charged that Roper anc ^ } iad stolen between 
$16,000 and $20, 000 of Klan money and had been "banished" for life. 

The lack of central organization and strong leadership created a 
chaotic condition in Klan affairs. Each group claimed to be the Klan, and 
internal bickering within the various Klans and arguments between Klan leaders 


- 27 - 





were prevalent. Parades, cross burnings, and public rallies increased as 
each Klan sought to attract new members. Increased emphasis was placed 
on racial segregation and maintenance of white supremacy in the South. Klan 
speakers capitalized on the communist threat, playing up the Communist Party 
line of Negro equality. Wildly inflammatory language was used to instill fear 
and to enlist the support of persons who normally would have nothing to do with 
a Klan-type organization. 

In such an atmosphere, it was inevitable that violence would occur. 

The various Klan leaders loudly and righteously proclaimed that they would 
countenance no violence; that their Klans were law-abiding fraternal groups 
dedicated to the preservation of the ” American” way of life. But more and 
more Klansmen were being identified in the wave of floggings, murders, and 
other acts of violence which started in 1950. 

C. Association of Carolina Klans 

Soon after Roper succeeded Green as head of the Association of 
Georgia Klans, Thomas L. Hamilton set up a Klan of his own with headquarters 
in Leesville, South Carolina. He called this new group the Association of 
Carolina Klans, and organized it from klaverns in North Carolina and South 
Carolina which he had previously organized for the Association of Georgia 
Klans. 


- 28 - 



Hamilton, formerly a grocer in Augusta, Georgia, claimed to have 
been a KLansman since 1926. In a public announcement on November 20, 1949, 
of the formation of his new Klan, Hamilton called for "maintenance of white 
supremacy, separation of church and state, free speech, free press, and 
liberty and justice for all. " Roper branded Hamilton a "traitor, " while 
Hamilton countered with the claim that Roper was interested only in the revenue 
he had been receiving from the Carolina klaverns. Although the Association 
of Carolina Klans severed all connections with the Association of Georgia Klaus, 
the ideals, purposes, and policies of the two groups remained the same* 

Parades, speeches, and cross burnings were utilized by the 
Association of Carolina Klans to stir up enthusiasm and to attract new members. 
One parade, near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, led by Hamilton, resulted in a 
fracas at a Negro dance hall in which one of the Klansmen, a robed, off-duty 
policeman, was shot and killed. Hamilton and others were arrested, but the 
charges were later dismissed. 

Floggings and other terroristic acts soon extended into North Carolina 
There, Hamilton was not so fortunate. The action of the Fair Bluff, North 

,arad 

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taking them across the state line into South Carolina and there 
flogging them for alleged immoral activities, brought on an FBI investigation 



Carolina, klavern on October 6, 1951, in abductinj 


- 29 - 




which resulted in ten convictions. Hamilton insisted that the Klan did not 
sanction such activities, and publicly revoked the charter of the Fair Bluff 
klavern. State and local action against terrorists during the next 12 months, 
however, resulted in almost 100 arrests, culminating in the arrest of 
Hamilton on May 24, 1952, on charges cf conspiracy to kidnap and assault. 
Despite his first protestations of innocence, Hamilton entered a surprise 
plea of guilty on July 22, 1952, and on July 30, 1952, he was sentenced to 
four years in prison. Sixty -two other sentences were meted out as the climax 
of one of the largest mass trials in North Carolina history. 

There was a lessening of Klan activities throughout the South. 

Southern editors expressed the hope that the Klan menace had at last been 
laid to rest. As it turned out, these hopes were premature. Klan leaders 
needed some incident upon which to base a fresh appeal. This was provided by 
the United States Supreme Court decision on May 17, 1954, concerning 
segregation in the public schools. 

D. National Ku Klux Klan 

To go back briefly, in the Fall of 1949, Klan leaders sought to form 
a national union of Klan organizations. Their attempts were not successful 
due to the inability of the leaders to agree on who should head such a group. 


30 - 


In December, 1949, a loose affiliation of three groups was formed, to be known 
as National Ku Klux Klan. Participating were Southern Knights of the Ku Klux 
Klan, Federated Ku Klux Klans, and the Association of Carolina Klans. An 
Imperial Council was set up, consisting of three members from each 
participating Klan headed by Bill Hendrix, William Hugh Morris, and Thomas L. 
Hamilton, respectively. This was not a merger, and no monies were to be sent 
to any national headquarters. 

Roper's Klan in Georgia was not included in the new National Ku Klux 
Klan. Hendrix accused Roper of blocking national union of all Klans. Roper 
denied this, and charged that he had been double-crossed by Hendrix and 
Hamilton. Hamilton, in turn, charged Roper with blocking unification by insist- 
ing that all funds be payable to him. 

Formation of the National Ku Klux Klan was publicly announced on 
January 29, 1950. Militant action was called for against such groups as the 
Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, B'nai B'rith, and the 
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. A slightly different 
approach to Catholics was formulated in a statement that while the Catholic 
Church was sincerely fighting communism, its "clerical hierarchy" was 
totalitarian in its views and "must not be permitted to dominate and control 


- 31 - 


the fight against communism. ’’ Progressive education was termed ’’nothing 
more than a communist movement, sometimes called Socialist, to use the 
schools and colleges to overthrow the American way of life and our Constitution. ” 
The Klan, said the announcement, was tolerant and supported free enterprise 
and the Constitution. 

Although members and leaders of the three Klans appeared from 
time to time at parades and public rallies of other participating Klans, each 
Klan pursued its own course and the National Ku Klux Klan never amounted to 
anything as an organized group. 


- 32 - 


m. KLAN MOVEMENT MARKED BY FACTIONALISM 

A. U. S. Klans, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc . 

In 1953, a number of officers and members of the Association of 
Georgia Klans, dissatisfied with Roper’s leadership, withdrew to form a new 
Klan, which was destined to become the largest and best known of all Klan 
groups. Eldon Lee Edwards, an Atlanta automobile painter, became Imperial 
Wizard and on September 4, 1953, he copyrighted the old Kloran of the Knights 
of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. , with only minor changes, in the name of U.S. 

Klans of Georgia, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. 

Edwards set out to build a national Klan organization, but soon 
found that the name U.S. Klans of Georgia, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, was 
a definite obstacle in soliciting members in other states. He solved this 
problem by changing the name. On October 24, 1955, in Fulton County 
(Georgia) Superior Court, a charter was granted to E. L. Edwards, M. Wesley 
Morgan, and William A. Daniel, Sr., in the name of U.S. Klans, Knights of 
the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. The attorney for the charter petition was Samuel 
Green, Jr. , son of the late Imperial Wizard of the Association of Georgia 
Klans. This new group was described as an organization for social and 
charitable purposes, and the general nature of its business was to formulate 


- 33 - 


and execute plans for the advancement of the fraternal society, and to promote 
Christian faith and a better way of life among its members,, The real purpose, 
of course, was to promote white supremacy and the continuation of segregation 
in the South. Edwards maintained that these objectives would be met only 
through legal means and without violence. 

Edwards established headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Imperial 
Wizard Edwards, with Imperial Klaliff M. Wesley Morgan and Imperial KLigrapp 
William A. Daniel, Sr. , both described as long-time Klan fanatics, set the 

Georgia, 


policy for the new Klan. 


[ 


] took an active part as Imperial Klokard, and[_ 


formerly active in Original Southern Klans, Inc. , now joined forces with 
Edwards as an organizer. 

National Klonvocations (conventions) are held in Atlanta. At a 
Klonvocation in June, 1956, a new password was released to members 
present— "White Man. " At a Klonvocation in June, 1957, after a delegate 
had told assembled Klans men that it was time for all Klans men to carry 
their Bibles in one hand and their muskets in the other, a new password was 
adopted --"Fight Communism. " 


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- 34 - 





er’s Association of 


Georgia KianR after being 1 ’banished” by Morris from Federated Ku Klux Klan, 
now joined forces with Edwards. On October 27, 1956, Edwards appointed 
| [ Grand Dragon for Alabama. | | was an inflammatory orator. True, 
he usually predicated his remarks with a statement that the aims of the Klan 
were peaceful and that lawful means would be used to prevent integration, but 
such statements were overshadowed when he would cry, "Negroes who try to 
force their way into our white schools aren ? t looking for an education they* re 
looking for a funeral.” In highly descriptive terms, he would exhort his 
listeners on the theory that if white girls and Negro boys went to the same 
'school they would also go to dances together, and that "your fair skinned, fair 
haired daughter” would soon find herself in the arms of a ”burr~headed, 
liver “lipped, goatsmelling nigger with his mind deep in adultery." 



On June 10, 1957, Robert M. Shelton, a Tuscaloosa attorney, was 


appointed Grand Dragon for Alabama. On June 14, 1957, U.S. KLans, Knights 
of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. , was registered with the Secretary of State of 
Alabama. 


- 35 - 





On January 10 and January 27, 1957, Montgomery, Alabama, where 
city bus segregation had just been ended, was the scene of a series of bombings 
and attempted bombings of Negro churches and ministers' homes. Montgomery 
police blamed "members of the Montgomery branch of the Ku Klux Klan" for 
the acts. An unnamed Klan spokesman said "the Klan as an organization does 
not sanction nor does it condone such violence, " but admitted that he "understood" 
that some of the men charged with the acts belonged to the Klan. The Klan 
immediately rallied to the defense of the four men indicted for these bombings. 

A defense fund was set up to raise the $60, 000 needed for attorneys' fees for 
the indicted men, and Imperial Wizard Edwards is reported to have sent an 
appeal to all klavems asking for donations to this defense fund. 


Typical of the organizational activities of Edwards was the chartering 

of aklavern at Mobile, Alabama, on July 7, 1956. a 

who had been active in William Hugh Morris' Federated Ku 


Klux Klans during 1949 and 1950, became the Exalted Cyclops of the new Mobile 


klavern. He and Edwards agreed that the fee for new members would be 


$10. 00, with a $3. 00 fee for members being reinstated. Of the first 25 
members, Edwards was to receive $7. 00 for each new member and $2. 00 
for each reinstatement. Thereafter, Edwards was to receive $4. 00 for each 


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- 36 - 




new member and $1.00 for each reinstatement. Edwards agreed to send 
speakers for an open meeting as part of a general membership drive. 

Edwards appeared to be interested only in the money 


According tc[ 
involved. 


B. Gulf Ku Klux Klan 

[ was not long satisfied with this arrangement, for three 
months later, in October, 1956, he withdrew the Mobile klavern from Edwards' 
Klan and formed his own Klan, the Gulf Ku Klux Klan. The aims and purposes 
remained the same — to maintain white supremacy and separation of the races, 
and to fight communism and the National Association for the Advancement of 
Colored People. He said his Klan would have three degrees, Apprentice b 
Klansman, Klankraft, and Master Klansman, but when he attempted to copy- 
right these degrees he was turned down because they were not submitted in 


proper form. 


hook the title of Imperial Wizard and appointed 


as Grand Dragon for Alabama. 


had been officers 


of the old Federated Ku Klux Klans, an<£ 


Tiad previously stated that he 


had had to "banish" 


fr n 1950 for failure to account for membership dues. 
He said he had reluctantly accepted |~ | into the new Mobile klavern of U. S. 


- 37 - 







Klans in July, 1956, and had promoted him to Grand Dragon erf his new Gulf 

Ku Klux Klan so he could keep an eye on him. 

In addition to the usual cross burnings, during the Winter of 1956 
[ instituted a series of visits by hooded Klan members to local churches 
where, with all possible publicity, contributions would be made to the churches. 
After several months, such visits became less frequent, allegedly because 
Klan members complained that the practice was causing too much of a drain 
on their pocketbooks. 

G. Alabama Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. * 

In May, 1957, Birmingham Klavern No. 1 of the U.S. Klans of 
Alabama voted to withdraw from Edwards' group and form a new Klan. The 
reason behind this move was reported to be opposition on the part of the klavern 
members to sending money to Imperial Headquarters in Atlanta and to 
contributing to the defense fund of the Klansmen under indictment for the 
bombings in Montgomery, Alabama. As a result of this withdrawal, the 
Exalted Cyclops and certain other officers of Birmingham Klavern No. 1 
were "banished"- by Edwards from the U.S. Klans of Alabama "for the rest of 
their miserable lives." First known as Alabama Ku Klux Klan, Inc., the 
ori ginal charter filed with the Jefferson County, Alabama, Probate Court on 
June 7, 1957, was amended on August 19, 1957, to change the name to Alabama 

Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. 


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- 38 - 



D* The Original Ku Klux Klan of the Confederacy 


A klavern of the U.S. Klans of Alabama had been established at 

Ensley, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. a 

notorious Alabama segregationist, had been accepted as a member of this 


klavern. Edwards demanded that fr ?e ’ ’banished” from the klavern, 


and when this was not done, Edwards ”banished” the entire Ensley klavern. 


Immediately formed a Klan of his own, which was 
incorporated in Alabama on November 20, 1956, as The Original Ku Klux 
Klan of the Confederacy. The stated purposes of the new group were to 
promote the betterment of communities, municipalities, and counties in 


the state; to defend the Constitution and to lawfully oppose those who 


would destroy or pervert it; to assist in avoidance of racial tensions; 
and, by friendly discussion, to bring about understanding between the 


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races. 

Strange, indeed, were the methods employed to inspire 
members to carry out these ostensibly worthy purposes. Meetings were 
called to order with a ceremony which included the thrusting of a Sword 
into the floor and a knife into the speaker's rostrum. Members were 
reported to openly carry knives and guns during meetings. At one 
initiation ceremony, held in a pine forest in a remote rural area, many 


- 39 - 





of the mask ed and robed members carried revolvers, knives, swords, et cetera. 
Models of human Bkolls glowed in the fire. Applicants, warned that they would 


be killed if they divulged Klan secrets, put ashes from the fire on their faces, 


whichl 


e xplain ed was a viking custom known as "ashes of the dead. " At 


the end of the ceremony, after taking the "oath of death" and the "oath of Becrecy, " 


each applicant took the "blood oath." This consisted of each initiate cutting his 
arm with a bayonet, dipping his finger in his own blood, writing his initials on 


a piece of paper, and throwing the paper into the fire. 

~| "one man rule" and his methods of handling Klan funds soon 
caused dissension in The Original Ku Klux Klan of the Confederacy. These 
differences reached a climax at a meeting on January 22, 1957, culminating in 


a shooting affray in which two members were wounded. 


E. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of the Confederacy 

After the shooting on January 22, 1957, The Original Ku Klux Klan 
of the Confederacy split into two groups. One group subsequently incorporated 
on July 23, 1957, as the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of the Confederacy, with 
the same ostensible purposes as were listed for The Original Ku Klux Klan of 
the Confederacy. 


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- 40 - 


The followers erf 


formed their own faction and ultimately 


became involved in one of the most shocking examples of senseless Klan 
brutality ever perpetrated. 

According to police accounts of the crime, on September 2, 1957, 
members of this faction met with their Exalted Cyclops. One of the men had 
been selected for the position of Assistant Exalted Cyclops, but first he had 
to "prove himself worthy. " Six men were selected to look for some "damn 
Negro to scare the hell out of. " They toured the Negro area in two cars for 


an hour until they happened across 


who was accompanied by a woman companion. was kidnapped and taken 

to a remote hideout. He was forced to his knees before a robed figure and b7c 
given his choice of mutilation or death. In the ensuing scuffle. Iwas 



same thing would happen to any Negro who tried to send his children to a white 


school. 


unmarried anc 


had been selected 


solely by chance. He had never taken partin any integration movement. 


- 41 - 






F. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. (Louisiana ) 

On May 11, 1956, a charter was filed with the Louisiana Secretary 
of State for Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. Registered agents were listed 
as Edgar C. Taylor, Jr. , and Perry E. Strickland, and the charter set forth 
that the group had been organized at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on May 10, 1956, 
”to promote the Christian Faith; the intellectual improvement and amusement 
of its members; to promote, foster, and afford opportunity for athletics, 
sports, and all indoor and outdoor games and sports; to promote a better way 
of life among its members and to uphold the Constitution of the United States, 
and generally to do all things necessary or proper to achieve such ends. ,T 
This new group was to be associated with Edwards’ U.S. Klans, Knights of 
the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. 

In accordance with Louisiana law, which requires yearly filing of 
complete membership lists from all but National Guard or church groups, 

Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. , submitted a membership list to the 
Louisiana Secretary of State on December 3, 1956. However, when Edwards 
had conferred with officers of the Louisiana group on December 1, 1956, an 
argument developed over finances and control by Edwards. The breach was 
not healed, and the new Klan soon split into two factions. Edgar C. Taylor, Jr. , 
service station employee and welder, remained as Grand Dragon for Louisiana 


- 42 - 


and attempted to reorganize the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. , as an 
affiliate of Edwards’ Klan. He met with little success, and in September, 1957, 
Taylor told an informant that his organization was inactive. 

G. Knational Christian Klan Kingdom, Inc . 

The other faction of Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. , led by 
Reverend Perry E. Strickland, Baptist minister and insurance salesman, 
formed an independent group with headquarters at Denham Springs, Louisiana. 
This faction first called itself the National Ku Klux Klan, but when the charter 
was filed with the Louisiana Secretary of State on May 1, 1957, it was under « 
the name Knational Christian Klan Kingdom, Inc. Strickland announced that 
his organization was chartered as a church group, and so would not be required 
to file membership lists. Its stated aims and purposes were to uphold the 
Constitution of the United States and to promote Christian faith, intellectual 
improvement, amus ement, and athletic activities of its members. The actual > 
purpose, of course, was the same as any other Klan group —to prevent 
integration. Strickland himself publicly announced that Knational Christian 
Klan Kingdom, Inc., was a nonprofit corporation formed "to protect the ideals 
of the white race. " 


- 43 - 


Plans were laid for both a state and a national organization, with 
Strickland as National Grand President. Individual klaverns were to be called 
"kingdoms, " and the password for 1957 was ’’White Supremacy.” During the 
first few months, Strickland claimed some success in attracting members in 
Louisiana, but by September, 1957, Knational Christian Klan Kingdom, Inc., 
was largely inactive. 

H. How U.S. Klans, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc., Sought New Members 

On June 11, 1955, speaking before a 30-foot burning cross at a 
public rally six miles south of Sumter, South Carolina, Imperial Wizard 
Edwards of the U.S. Klans, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. , called for 
a rebirth of the hooded order in the Carolinas. This was reported to be the 
first open Klan meeting in South Carolina since Thomas L. Hamilton, former 
South Carolina Klan leader, had been sent to prison in 1952. 

Edwards delivered an inflammatory speech designed to attract new 
members. He charged that the Supreme Court decision calling for termination 
of racial segregation was not an order but "an edict" framed by the "nine 
buzzards" making up the Court. He charged that the decision was a 
communist-Jewish-Catholic plot aimed at "destroying and mongrelizing" 
the white race, and said that the communists believed that once the "white man 


- 44 - 


has been mongrelized, they will have everybody in their power . M He called 
President Eisenhower "Eisenberger, " and linked him with the "Jewish 
conspiracy 1 * which had brought about the racial integration decision. He said 
that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was 
"not a Negro organization, " but had been formed in 1906 by a "group of three 
people sent directly from Russia, *’ and that of the original 50-odd members, 
"two-thirds had been later named as Communists. " Others named by Edwards 
as having a part in the "conspiracy** were "the Jew Bernard Baruch" and 
Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt. As can be seen, Edwards utilized all of the four 
traditional Klan targets in his speech — Negroes, Jews, Catholics, and foreign 


born. He closed with a plea for "unity, " and called for all members of the 
audience who were "one hundred per cent Protestant white Americans" to join 
the Klan. 


Edwards appointed 


South Carolina, 
staged well-advertised 


as organizer for South Carolina, 
public rallies, complete with burning crosses, to stir up interest in his Klan 
and to secure members. Speakers includecj 


various Klan officials 


from Atlanta, and local Klan leaders, all expounding on variations of the theme 
set forth by Edwards at Sumter, South Carolina. 


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South Carolina, joined forces with] 


and soon became known at Klan rallies as the 


). ■ 


By the Summer of 1956 J 


of Grand Dragon 


of South Carolina. Membership fee was set at $10. 00, $3. 00 going tol 


$3.00 to the local klavern, and $4. 00 to the recruiter. Presumably, some of 
share was forwarded to Edwards in Atlanta. 


Klansmen in neighboring areas were often called upon to assist at 
rallies. For example, in a letter to the Exalted Cyclops of a Savannah, 
Georgia, klavern dated April 2, 1957, 1 lannounced a rally to be held 


near Kingstree, South Carolina, on April 13, 1957, and said that he wanted 
as many Klansmen "as can be found" to attend the meeting because "this 
section is loaded with Catholics which is trying to enter grate the Negro. " 


I. Association of South Carolina Klans 

soon found he had competition in South Carolina. In the Fall 
of 1955, a group in Columbia, South Carolina, started a Klan patterned after 
the old Association of Carolina Klans of Thomas L. Hamilton. After some 


confusion as to just what name this new Klan would adopt, it finally became 


known as the Association of South Carolina Klans. 


a 


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- 46 - 








assisted byl 


was the motivating force behind this new organization, 

of Mims Electric Co. , an ^ 


|a Student. 

By the Pall of 1956, 


had dropped out of the Association 


of South Carolina Klans, allegedly to promote a new group called Protestant 
Brotherhood of America. Certain factions of the Association of South Carolina 

including a group of the Camden, South Caroling 


Klans left with 


klayern known as the "Holy Terrors. " The ’’Holy Terrors” had split the 
Camden klavern because of their terroristic activities. Members of the 
"Holy Terrors” were believed responsible for the floggings on December 27, 
1956, of 


for alleged 


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for the six men arrested 


prointegration remarks, 
for the flogging. 

The Protestant Brotherhood of America never developed into more 
than a temporary cover forf 


KLan activities. 


faction soon 


joined with Edwards’ group, and at the National Klonvocation of U. S. Klans, 
Knights of the Ku KLux Klan, Inc. , held in June, 1957, at Atlanta, 
elected to the Imperial Office of Klabee (treasurer). 


was 



continued promoting the Association of South 

Carolina Klans, assisted 





- 47 - 











J. South Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc . 

A klavern of the U.S. Klans, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. , had 
been organized in Greenville, South Carolina. This klavern was disbanded in 


the Fall of 1956 after a dispute with) 


over finances. Led by 


remnants of 


this group on December 12 y 1956, published legal notice of intention to incorporate 
as the South Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. In April, 1957, after 
the South Carolina Secretary of State refused to issue the charter, this organization 
announced that it was disbanding. 

In May, 1957, members of the disbanded Klan, led by 


a former officer of the Greenville klavern of U.S. Klans, Knights of the Ku 
Klux Klan, Inc. , formed a new organization known as South Carolina Knights 
of the Ku Klux Klan, which was to be associated with Bill Hendrix’ Florida Klan 
group. A large rally was set for June 1, 1957, near Greenville, at which the 

talked 


Afteri 


principal Speakers were Bill Hendrix and) 

about his prosegregationist activities, Hendrix addressed the rally. He 
discussed the dangers of racial mixing and told of the Klan's fight for "liberty 
and freedom. " He is reported to have said that if the Supreme Court continued 


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the way it was going, the day would come when feeling against the Jews would 
be so high that the reaction "will make Hitler look like a Baptist Sunday School 
picnic. " He was also quoted as saying that white children "can handle integration 
in the schools with some baseball bats. " 

The June 3, 1957, issue of the Greenville Piedmont newspaper reported 
an interview with Hendrix. "It’s doubtful that we can continue to fight segregation 
by lawf ul means, " he said. When asked about the possible use of violence, he 
replied: "Violence? No, I don't think we'll have to use violence, but you must 
remember that we (officials) have no control over what individual or a group of 
klansmen will do. " 

By the Fall of 1957, South Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan had 
extended its activities into surrounding states and the name was changed to 
Independent Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. In the meantime, ] | met with 


opposition from members who were not in favor of the alliance with Bill Hendrix. 
He was forced out of the organization after the Grand Council found him guilty of 

embezzling Klan funds. 

On October 4, 1957, 


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announced that he had resigned the title 

of Grand Dragon of the South Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan to become 
Grand Dragon of a newly organized group to be known as National Ku Klux Klan, 
Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of South Carolina. However, on January 1, 1958, 

said that National Ku Klux Klan had been dissolved and that he was urging 


all former members to join the United White Party recently formed at Knoxville, 
Tennessee. 


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K. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (North Carolina) 

Early in 1956, Arthur W. Bryant and his brother Joseph C. Bryant, 
both of Charlotte, North Carolina, and president and executive secretary, 
respectively, of the States Rights League of North Carolina, started distributing 
anti-Semitic and prosegregation literature. Joseph C. Bryant is reported to 
have said that the States Rights League of North Carolina was to be the nucleus 
fox a Klan group in Charlotte. 

The activities of the Bryant brothers led to their arrest, with four 
other persons, on May 31 and June 1, 1956, for violation of a North Carolina 
statute makin g it a misdemeanor to mail or distribute written or printed 
material which, if published, would bring persons identified therein into public 
contempt or disgrace. All were later released except Arthur W. Bryant and 
Percy C. Wyatt, who were fined and given suspended sentences in Charlotte 
Recorder 1 # Court on June 8, 1956. 

Arthur and Joseph Bryant, with another brother, Harry, operated the 
Art Stone Works in Charlotte. At the time the arrests were made, a search 
of this establishment revealed quantities erf alleged defamatory matter, a 
printing press belonging to Wyatt, and 33 applications to join or be reinstated 
in the U. S. Klans, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. 


- 50 - 


Wyatt has been described as having been a fanatic on racial matters 
for many years, with a particular bias against Jews. At one time (1935), he 

had been 1 was 

a charter member of the Patriots of North Carolina, Inc., an organization 
chartered in North Carolina on August 22, 1955, ”to maintain the purity of 
the white race, promote racial peace and goodwill, maintain existing social 
structures and promote the rights of states to regulate their own internal 
affairs. ,T In 1954, he was listed on letterheads of Pro-Southerners as a 
member of the Advisory Board. 

After the conviction of Arthur W. Bryant and Percy C. Wyatt on 
June 8, 1956, Bryant communicated with klaverns of U.S. Klans, Knights 


of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc., in other states in an appeal for funds to pay fines 
and attorneys* fees, et cetera. In the meantime, he had been assistin; 

in organizing the Klan in South Carolina. Bryant attended the National 



KLonvocation of U.S. Klans, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc., held in 
Atlanta in June, 1956, as the lone representative from North Carolina. 


Early in the Fall of 1956, 


['banished” Reverend James Cole, 


reportedly because Cole was advocating the use of force and violence in Klan 


activities and because Cole had been using his position in 


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organization for his own personal gain. Cole immediately joined forces with 
the three Bryant brothers in trying to establish a Klan organization in North 
Caro lina . Arthur W. Bryant assumed the title of Grand Dragon of North 
Carolina and sought to have his group recognized as part of Edwards’ U.S. 


Klans, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. 


in South Carolina, 


protested, with the result that about November, 1956, Edwards is reported 


to have ’’banished" Arthur W. Bryant from the U.S. Klans, Knights of the 


Ku Klux Klan, Inc. 

When attempts to affiliate with Edwards’ group failed, Bryant told 

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an informant that his organization would be known as Knights of the Ku Klux 
Klan and that he would attempt to secure a charter from the State of Delaware. 

Public rallies were staged in North Carolina during the Fall and Winter of 
1956 in an effort to arouse interest in the new organization. 

North 

Carolina, assisted in the organizing efforts, but the Bryant brothers allegedly 
were not completely satisfied with Watkins, apparently because of some 
previous f in ancial dealings in which they felt that Watkins had been dishonest. 

Reverend James Cole, the "country preacher from down the road, ” 
was the principal speaker at public rallies of Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. 


- 52 - 




Cole, a good speaker with a flair for showmanship, has been described by 
persons who have known him as a money-mad individual who preached only 
because he felt it was the easiest way to make a living. A former associate 
in the Baptist ministry said Cole was not a ’’man of God, " could not be trusted, 
and would do anything for personal gain. 

A typical public rally of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan would 
start with a recording of the national anthem, followed by the Klan "anthem”— 
”The Old Rugged Cross’’— and a prayer. Speakers would emphasize that this 
organization did not believe in violence, but in the next breath would make 
statements which could only incite to violence. For example, the North 
Carolina General Assembly had enacted a law concerning integration in public 
schools of North Carolina. This law was known as the Pearsall Plan. 

Reverend James Cole, criticizing the Supreme Court, the National Association 
for the Advancement of Colored People, the Ford Foundation, the National 
Council of Churches, the Catholic Church, Masons, et cetera, in speaking on 
the evils of integration, would climax his talk with: ”If the Pearsall Plan will 
not work, the Smith and Wesson Plan will.’’ 

At a rally at Salisbury, North Carolina, on July 20, 1957, Cole 
referred to an instance where Durham Negroes tried to swim in a white 


- 53 - 


swimming pool. Paraphrasing words formerly used byl 


Cole, who by now was calling himself Grand Wizard, told his audience: "A 
Negro who wants to go to a white swimming pool is not looking for a bath, he’s 
looking for a funeral. " 

For a time. Cole used a five-year -old child as a speaker at Klan 
rallies. When called upon to speak, the youngster, dressed in Klan regalia, 

would deliver a one-sentence message: ”1 ain’t going to school with Niggers. " 
A pamphlet entitled "Why You Should Become a Klansman” was 

distributed at rallies of Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Excerpts set forth below 
illustrate a typical Klan appeal to anti-Negro, anti -Catholic, anti-Jewish, and 
antiforeign-born sentiments, thinly disguised under the cloak of patriotism 
and Christianity. 

”If you are a White Man your place is with an organized White 
Man's movement dedicated to the task of preserving the integrity, 
the blood-purity, the traditions, the ideals, and the heritages of 
the White Races in America. This is the Racial Mission of the 
Klan. 

"If you are a native-born American your place is with an 
organized White, Native-born American movement dedicated to 
all the high and holy ideals and principles of real American 
patriotism. In its influences and its teachings, and its principles, 
the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan seeks to generate and impart a 
spirit of loyalty to America, of consecration to her ideals, of 
fealty to her institutions, of support to her government, of 
obedience to her laws, and of unselfish devotion to her interests. 

"If you are a Protestant your place is with an organized White, 
Native-born American Protestant movement dedicated to the 
re-animation of genuine Protestantism in America. As it grows, 
the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is quietly but effectively aiding in 
the upbuilding of Protestant Christianity." 


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- 54 - 



"If you believe in law and order your place is with an 
organized movement that is effectively creating respect 
for Law, emphasizing obedience to Law, and insisting 
upon the full and impartial enforcement of Law, in every 
place where it is fully operative. The Knights of the Ku Klux 
Klan is dedicated to this principle. " 


"If you believe in the American Public School System your 
place is with an organized movement that is dedicated to 
the principle that the American Public School System must 
and shall be preserved, supported, and developed for the 
highest possible functioning in our American life." 


"If you believe that White, Native-Born Protestant Americans 
should have the same rights in their own country that are 
granted to alien and other groups, then your place is with 
the movement that is organized to cherish, establish, and 
maintain these rights for Americans. Other groups are 
actively operative in furthering their own peculiar group 
interests. The Jews are organized to protect Jewish interests; 
the Roman Catholics are organized to further papal interests, 
the Negroes are organized to advance the interests of that 
race; and in various parts of America, various racial and 
alien-national groups are organized for the furtherance of 
their particular interests and the spread of their peculiar 
ideals among our own American people. These racial and 
religious groups exercise the rights of freedom of assembly, 
free speech, and free press. The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan 
believes that White, Native-born, Protestant Americans should 
be protected in their own exercise of these fundamental 
American rights, and especially in their right to insist that 
America shall be made American through the promulgation of 
American principles, the dissemination of American ideals, 
the creation of wholesome American sentiment, the preservation 
of American institutions, and through all of those means that 
will make for a nobler, purer, and more prosperous America. " 


- 55 - 


1 

In December, 1957, Reverend James Cole attempted to extend his 
TCI an activities into the State of Virginia. On December 3, 1957, one James 
Garland Martin arrived in Danville, Virginia, to make arrangements for a 
rally aind cross burning to be held near Danville on the night of December 7, 
1957. Leaflets circulated in the Danville area announced that the Grand 
Wizard would talk on ’’Why I Believe in Segregation. ” Virginia newspapers 
noted that this was the first Klan meeting in Virginia since the late 1920* s. 

The rally was not a success. It took place in a waterlogged 

pasture during a steady rainfall. The 13 robed Klansmen present had 

difficulty in lighting the water-soaked cross. Cole attempted to stir up 

interest in the Klan, with little success. As stated in an editorial in the 

December 8, 1957, issue of The Danville Register ; 

”. . .They simply looked ridiculous — as ridiculous as they 
were. . . ” 

The Roanoke (Va. ) Times commented editorially on December 17, 

1957, on the idea of a Klan revival in Virginia: 

"The idea is deplorable because the Klan is the distillation 
of all the cowardice, cruelty and moral corruption present 
in extreme racism. ” 

Reverend James Cole and James Garland Martin were soon to be 
involved in an incident which, in spite of its serious implications, was to 


- - 56 - 



make the Klan the laughingstock of the Nation. Early in January, 1958, 
crosses were burned near Indian homes in Robeson County, North Carolina, 
which has a population of approximately 40, 000 white people, 30, 000 Lumbee 
Indians, and 25, 000 Negroes. Cole was quoted as saying the cross burnings 
were intended to be a warning to those Indians who were trying to integrate. 

A Klan rally was announced for January 18, 1958, near Maxton, North 
Carolina. 

The rally turned into a rout. Indians, shooting shotguns and rifles 

into the air, descended upon the Klansmen and broke up the meeting. Local 

r \ 

officers used tear gas to quiet the melee, and the Klansmen withdrew. James 
Garland Martin was arrested on charges of public drunkenness and carrying 
a concealed weapon. Later, a North Carolina State grand jury indicted 
Martin and Cole on charges of inciting a riot. Cole, by then, had returned to 
his home in South Carolina, where he issued a statement that he planned to 
institute legal action against the Sheriff of Robeson County. He complained 
that he had been denied his rights under the law because he was a member of 
the white race. 

L. Knights of the Kuklos Klan 

Harry William Pyle, an elderly, retired painting contractor of 
Memphis, Tennessee, published a mimeographed monthly paper called 


- 57 - 


The Political Reporter , which has been described as a bitterly anti- Negro, 
antiJe wish -type "hate sheet. " He was the founder and promoter of a white 
supremacy group called Pro -Southerners, and, about 1954, started promoting 
a new Klan-type organization of his own, which he called Knights of the 
Kuklos Klan. Pyle assumed the title of Imperial Dragon, and claimed that 
his organization descended from the original order of Nathan Bedford 
Forrest of Civil War Reconstruction days. The purpose of the group, as 
described by Pyle on one occasion, was to "save this Nation from the 
Negroes, Zionists, and Communists, " and to preserve white supremacy 
and segregation of races. 

Little progress was made by Knights of the Kuklos Klan, although 

for a time in 1954 and 195£ attempted to stir up interest in the 

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group in Florida. After Pyle split with Pro=Southerners in March, 1956, he 

started active promotion of Knights of the Kuklos Klan in and around Memphis. 

He interested Edwin H„ Wilson, another elderly Memphis man, in the 

organization, and Wilson became active as a promoter. There was a brief 

period of growth, but Knights of the Kuklos Klan was so loosely operated 

that chaos resulted. Pyle and Wilson gave conflicting expressions of the 

aims and purposes of the group to prospective recruits, and both handed out 

honorary titles promiscuously until it appeared that the majority of the 


- 58 - 


members considered themselves to be officers of some type. By the Summer 
of 1956, Knights of the Kuklos Klan was almost completely dormant. Wilson 
started selling memberships in a group of his own, The Kuklus Klan, which 
he said he had organized to obtain information for law enforcement agencies 
regarding potential racial trouble spots. Pyle died in Memphis on February 2$ 
1957. 


M. Association of Florida Ku Klux Klan 
On July 7, 1953, 

P reat Titan, Imperial Nighthawk, and member of the 
Imperial Council of the Association of Georgia KLans, formed a new Klan 
which he called Association of Florida Ku Klux Klan. This new group was not 
to be affiliated with any other Klan, but was to operate under the same b7c 
principles and bylaws as the Association of Georgia KLans. 

previously associated at various times with 


Bill Hendrix and Samuel W. Roper in Klan promotion, now affiliated with 


and former associate 


of Hendrix* until a disagreement had caused them to sever relations, also 
joined organization. 


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At a state meeting of Association of Florida Ku Klux Klan held on 
November 21, 1954, near Live Oak, Florida, speakers included Grand 

ld l 


Dragori 


anc 


members of the Imperial 


Council; 


} ani 


Btated that any 


member who used force or violence would be expelled, and praised the work 
of and the National Association for the Advancement erf White 


People. 


|quoted the Bible as the basis for his position that to give 

said that Hitler 


equality to Negroes would be a ”sin against God. ’ 
was "the greatest man of all time, " praised Hitler’s efforts to exterminate 
the Jews, and said that "the Jews must be destroyed. " He said that the 
Negro problem was only secondary. 


referred to Hitler as "one of the greatest men of all times, 

whose policy of extermination was the only solution to the Jew problem. " 

He said the Klan should resort to every means at hand to attack the Jews, 
who he claimed were responsible for the segregation problem. He contended 
that the Negro was only a tool in the hands of the Jews to destroy western 


civilization. 


]told an informant that the Association of Florida Ku Klux 

and the National 


Klan was working hand in hand with 


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Association for the Advancement of White People, and that policy had been 
agreed upon which would make it impossible to tie the two organizations 

Is aid that group would be used by the Klan "to exert 


together. 


mass pressure, " and referred to the Klan as the "underground parent" of the 
National Association for the Advancement of White People. 

of 


In the Summer of 1954, 


Klan. 


appointed! 

Florida, as a Grand Titan of the Association of Florida Ku Klux 
as previously noted, became involved with Harry William 


Pyle in promoting the Pro-Southerners and the Knights of the Kuklos Klan, 


which led to a split between 


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On January 22, 1955, representatives of the Association of Florida 
Ku Klux Klan and of the U.S. Klans, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc., met 
near Live Oak, Florida, to discuss proposed cooperation and possible merger. 
Details of leadership could not be worked out, so nothing specific was decided. 


In April, 1955J 


told an informant that he had been offered a salary 


and commission, which would keep him in "green pastures, M to organize new 
klaverns for U.S. Klans, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc., but that he bad 
turned it down because he believed in a state organization rather than a 
national group. Later, 


told the informant that he had been offered 


- 61 - 










a monthly salary if he would agree to a merger between his Klan and Edwards' 


U. S. Klans, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. 

Dissension developed at a state meeting of the Association erf Florida 

Ku Klux Klan held at Live Oak, Florida, on June 11, 1955, whei| 

thought some of the other officers were usurping his authority. As| 


put it in a letter to a fellow KLansman dated June 16, 1955: 


"... I have Fired, the hell out of . 

Titan, and I have Abolished the Imperial Council, 

I have planned for a SPECIAL SESSION, to adopt the 
necessary and important things concerning the Klan." 


as Great 
and- 


"So dont worry aboul protecting himself, and 

the Klan. I have let my hair down, and pulled my gloves 
off, and waiting for the Bell. I have everything to gain and 
nothing to loose, and I have had Telephone Calls, by the 
Dozens, and letters are pouring in from everywhere, 
congratulating me on my firm stand, to keep the Klan - 
Clean, and avoid Bastar ds, who se ek personal gain, and 
Leadership, like old man 
and a few others. . . " 


did call a meeting on July 10, 1955, at Eustis, Florida, but 
the breach was not healed. On August 11, 1955, the Tampa Morning Tribune 
reported that Griffin had announced that he had ordered the Association of 


Florida Ku Klux Klan to disband. 


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■■ 62 = 







N. Conscientious American Citizens Club 


{con ti nued his organizational activities in Tampa, Florida, 


changing the name of the former Tampa klavern of the Association of Florida 
Ku Klux Klan to Conscientious American Citizens Club,* the announced 
purpose of which was to work for the segregation of races in every way short 
of violence. tad incorporated the Conscientious American Citizens 

Club on November 28, 1947, as a nonprofit organization to foster civic b7c 
interest and integrity in public office, but actually used by him to screen his 
man activities. A secret inner group of the Conscientious American Citizens 
Club was to be known as Aryan Knights of the Great Forest. 

had no real program to -offers 


According to one informant. 


and seemed to be mainly concerned with having someone listen to his speeches. 
Within a year, the Conscientious American Citizens Club became inactive. 


O. Florida Ku Klux Klan 


Despite! 


order to disband, the Association of Florida Ku 


Klux Klan continued to operate. 


was appointed Grand Dragon to replace] 
was changed to Florida Ku Klux Klan* 


and the name b7c 


was not a strong leader and 


had difficulty maintaining control over the state organization. Local leaders 
♦August, 1955. 


- 63 - 









sought power; Individual members and whole klaverns changed allegiance or 
became independent. The situation in Jacksonville is illustrative of the 
confusion which reigned. 

Pieced together from stories of various informants, this is the 
picture. When the Jacksonville klavern of the Association of Georgia Klans 
had become inactive, many of its last active members affiliated with 


Association of Florida Ku Klux Klan. After Bill Hendrix publicly announced 
that the Southern Knights of Ku Klux Klan would open its ranks to Negroes, 
the Jacksonville klavern of Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan became 
independent, then affiliated with 


group. 

This Jacksonville klavern of the Association of Florida Ku Klux Klan 

until November, 


continued as part of the Florida Ku Klux Klan under|_ 


1956, when dissension among the officers reached a climax. The klavern 
split into two factions, one remaining with [Florida Ku Klux Klan 


and the other, led by Exalted Cyclops[ 


, affiliating 


with Edwards' U.S. Klans, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. [ 

later became Grand Dragon for Florida in the Edwards organization. 

attitude toward the claimed peaceful motives of the Klan 
is illustrated by a statement attributed to him in an article by Robert S. 

Bird which appeared in the May 5, 1957, issue of The Washington Post and 
Times Herald: 


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- 64 - 







"I don't know what any of you boys would do about it, 
and I'm not telling you to go out and do murder. But 
I know what I'd do if one of them ding-Jew kind of 
niggers ever said anything to my wife. I'd get me a 
shotgun. ” 


P. Bedford Forrest Club, Inc. 

To go back briefly, another Jacksonville klavern of 


Association of Florida Ku Klux Klan had been) 


had been a member of this group. When 


(attempted to disband the Association of Florida Ku Klux Klan, this 


klavern operated independently for a time, planning to remain withj^ 




set up another organization. When this did not materialize, they 


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entered into negotiations with Edwards to affiliate with U.S. Klans, Knights 
of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. These negotiations fell through at the last minute, 
so finally, on February 3, 1956, this group secured a charter from the 
Duval County (Florida) Circuit Court as the Bedford Forrest Club, Inc. 

This cover name was selected because it was felt that it might be difficult 
or embarrassing to obtain a charter in the name of the Klan. 


took the title of Imperial Wizard. The ritual remained 


essentially that of the Association of Florida Ku Klux Klan, and the primary 
objectives continued to be: 


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To fight integration in schools and other public places. 


2. To seek the reversal of the Supreme Court decision on 
segregation. 

3 . To oppose the National Association for the Advancement of 
Colored People. 


In June, 1957, 


announced that he was starting a new Klan 


group. Plans of the Bedford Forrest Club, Inc. , to affiliate witt| 


fell through when 


insisted that Klan members married to Catholics 
must be denied membership. One of the officers of the Bedford Forrest 
Club, Inc. y was married to a Catholic. 

Q. Association of Alabama Knights of the Ku Klux Klan 


had been 


Exalted Cyclops of the Spanish Fort, Alabama, klavern of Gulf Ku Klux Klan. 
In June, 1957, 


and other members of this klavern broke with Gulf 
Ku Klux Klan and formed an independent Klan group called Association of 
Alabama Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, with headquarters at Daphne, Alabama. 


became Grand Dragon of this new Klan. In September, 1957, 


(advised Bureau Agents that the purpose of Association of Alabama 


Knights of the Ku Klux Klan was to oppose integration of the races. He said 


b7C 


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the organization was opposed to the use of violence and intended to work for 
segregation through political and religious channels. However, on January 27, 
1958,1 ~] advised that the Association of Alabama Knights of the Ku Klux 

Klan had suspended operations in November, 1957, and that final decision as 
to whether to resume activities or to disband entirely would be made in about 
May, 1958. 


R. Tennessee Klans 

Tennessee Klans, sometimes referred to as Tennessee Ku Klux Klan, 

was formed at Clinton, Tennessee, in the Summer of 1957 by| 

According to one informant, had been a member of Hendrix’ Southern 

Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and aspired to the position of organizer for the b7C 
entire State of Tennessee. When he failed to get this job, he withdrew and 


formed his own Klan. 

> reported to have said that his organization would have no 
charter or membership cards and would use a costume consisting of a mask 
with crossbones on the forehead. Initiation fee was set at $5. 00, with monthly 

dues of $1. 00 per member. In November, 1957, claimed that 

Tennessee Klans had 32 members. According to one source, |said 

that persons from other areas would come into Anderson County, Tennessee, 


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to do whatever was necessary in that area and that local members would 
travel to other cities to take care of necessary work there. 

Tennessee Klans has committed no known acts of violence, but 
" has, in the past, indicated an interest in the making of hand 
grenades and the storage of dynamite in the Clinton area. 


S. Dixie Klans, Knights of the Ku Klux Man, Inc. 


hnd four other 


In September, 1957, Exalted Cyclop^ 

leaders of Klavern No. 1, U.S. Klans, Knights of the Ku Klux KLan, Inc., in 
Chattanooga, Tennessee, were ’’banished" from the klavern because of alleged 


irregular activities in conducting the klavern* s business. 


and 


one of the other "banished” leaders, formed a new Klan group known 
as Dixie Klans, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. , with headquarters in East 
Chattanooga, Tennessee. A General Welfare Charter of Incorporation, issued 
by the Tennessee Secretary of State on October 21, 1957, listed some of the 
purposes of the organization as freedom of speech and association, rejection 
of forced integration, preservation of the constitutions of the United States 
and the State of Tennessee, and preservation of the sovereignty of each of 
the 48 states. 

On February 1, 1958, 


of Dixie Klans, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc 
had been appointed Grand Dragon for Tennessee 


was elected Imperial Wizard 

previously 


b7C 


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T. N.C. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan 

In December, 1957, Klavern No. 22 of Knights of the Ku Klux Klan 
(North Carolina) became an independent Klan organization with headquarters 
in Charlotte, North Carolina. It took the name N.C. Knights of the Ku Klux 
Klan and was subsequently referred to by members as National Christian 
Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. The objectives of the group were to fight racial 
integration and to maintain supremacy of the white race. 

The terroristic methods to be used by the N.C. Knights of the Ku Klux 
Klan to obtain its objectives soon led the organization into difficulties. After 
burning a cross at a Negro school near Charlotte on February 5, 1958, several 
members were apprehended on February 15, 1958, while attempting to bomb 
this same school. On February 21, 1958, Grand Wizard Lester Frances 
Caldwell and four others were convicted and fined in Recorders Court in 
Charlotte on misdemeanor charges resulting from the cross burning. On 
March 20, 1958, Caldwell received a 5-to-10-yeax prison sentence after being 
convicted by a jury in Mecklenburg County Superior Court for the attempted 
bombing of the Negro school. A 2-to-5-year term for plotting the bombing was 
suspended. In addition, two other members of N.C. Knights of the Ku Klux 
KLan received 2-to-5-year sentences after being convicted on conspiracy 
charges. 


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IV. REACTION TO THE KLAN 


A. Editorial Comment 

The various Klans and their promoters have been thoroughly 
discredited by informed citizens of the South. This is illustrated vividly 
by editorial comments which have appeared in a number of Southern 
newspapers. 


’’The Ku Klux Klan is a cancer anywhere it appears. 
It can bring nothing but sorrow. It includes in its 
membership many good, bewildered, ill-informed 
persons with grievances which seem just to them, 
and who are used by the cynical and hypocritical 
exploiters of the Klan for devious purposes, none 
good. In some localities the Klan gets completely 
in the hands of the jerks and oafs and does some 
vicious, violent acts. ” 

The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, 
Georgia, January 26, 1949. 


’’It is obvious from the cases enumerated by the 
(Federal) grand jury that the Klan is not composed 
of patriotic men trying to uphold basic morals, 
traditions and laws, as Klan officials like to assert. 

’’Instead, it is composed of degenerate cowards who 
delight in abuse, mayhem and murder. They vent 
their brutal spleen on helpless individuals. They 
seek to impress their prejudices and rancor upon 
whole communities. ” 

The Florida Times -Union, Jacksonville, 
Florida, March 29, 1953. 


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’’Let ns not be lulled into complacency by any idea that such 
an organization may be needed as a defense against those 
who would force the issue of racial integration. It has 
nothing constructive to offer. . . ’’ 

Birmingham Post-Herald, 
Birmingham, Alabama, September 4, 
1956. 


’’Groups like the Ku Klux Klan are groups of people whose 
identity is not known. They are groups which habitually wear 
masks over their faces and operate during the hours of 
darkness. They are groups which knock on doors in the 
night, drag citizens from their beds, haul them off in the 
woods, and beat them with leather straps. 

’’They are groups which replace the law with the worst kind 
of terrorism and illegal violence. 

’’This opinion of klan-type groups is not a fancied or biased 
conjecture: it is an opinion which can be documented by a 
long list of court convictions extending over a period of almost 
forty years. 

"Klan-type terrorism never has and never will confine itself 
to the correction of the evil it pretends to combat. The 
organization cf this type terrorism lends itself to the perverted 
usages of cowards and sadists, private revenges, political 
prostitutions, perversion of police powers, and nocturnal 
orgies and revels in the savage bloodlusts which are our 
brutal heritages from the darkest jungles. 

”It snatches away not alone the liberty of the Negro citizen 
stubborn enough to want to send his child to a white school. 

It snatches away the right of every citizen to live peacefully 
in his own home, to enjoy the legal protection for which he 
pays his taxes, and to exercise his hard-won constitutional 
rights of free speech and freedom of religion. 


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"By the very nature of its anonymity and its clandestine 
Standard operating procedure the klan “type organization 
cannot confine itself to its original objectives; and it 
lends its name and its methods to the purposes of the 
lowest type of cowardly hoodlum, whether or not that 
hoodlum be a member of the organization. 

"Business of calling in such groups as the Ku Klux Klan 
to help preserve segregation in the South is comparable 
to using an atom bomb to break up a street brawl, 
comparable to setting loose a band of man-eating 
murderous tigers to rid the village of rats." 


"Solution of integration or any other evil will never be 
found under a mask of terror and a soiled sheet of 
midnight violence. " 

Fayetteville Observer, Fayetteville, 
North Carolina, September 15, 1956. 


Well-meaning persons still succumb to Klan propaganda and join 
Klan groups "to help the cause. " An editorial in the August 18, 1955, issue 
of the Charlotte News, Charlotte, North Carolina, noted; 

' ■ 1 T~ 

"The Klan must not be allowed to rear its ugly head again— 
here or anywhere else. There may be a few sincere but 
deluded Tar Heels who think that such an organization can 
perform some useful purpose. It cannot. These same 
citizens who ’mean well’ are invariably victimized by 
organizers who cynically use the Klan for financial gain or 
restless, reckless and sadistic men and hot-eyed religious 
fanatics who thirst for drastic action. ” 


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After the August 8, 1957, flogging of four Negroes in Evergreen, 
Alabama, by individuals wearing Klan regalia, at least two members of the 
Evergreen Klavern resigned because they wanted nothing to do with such 
activities. The mayor of Sylacauga, Alabama, who had agreed to let a Klan 
group hold meetings in a building owned by his family, withdrew his permission 
when he became convinced that this Klan group was composed of radical and 
criminal elements. In October, 1957, a Klansman in Chattanooga, Tennessee, 
returned his membership card when asked to buy dynamite for another 
Klansman. 

In their public utterances, Klan promoters are careful to emphasize 
that their organizations are against violence in any form. In the same breath, 
however, they flatly state that there will be no integration of the races in the 
South. But they have no program to bridge the gap- -a fatal defect which 
distinguishes Klan groups from legitimate organizations seeking the answers 
to social problems in the South today. The September 12, 1955, issue of 
The Pensacola Journal , Pensacola, Florida, editorialized as follows: 

"The klan came into existence because cf trouble and now 
it exists simply to create and continue fresh trouble. It 
is not so much a question of the klan being unnecessary 
in a peaceful work (sic); it is a question of a troubled 
world being necessary to the klan. Well, we control 
mosquitos and we can control these other social pests. " 


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B. The FBI and the Klan 

KLan organizations are investigated by the FBI (1) when the 
organization has been designated pursuant to Executive Order 10450 or is 
actually or allegedly affiliated or has a subsidiary relationship with a 
designated organization; (2) when there are alleged or actual acts of 
violence or the organization has indicated it has adopted a policy of advocating 
or a p prov ing the co mmis sion of acts of force or violence to deny others their 
rights under the Constitution; (3) where there are alleged or actual 
violations of Federal laws within the investigative jurisdiction of the FBI. * 
However, in order to fully discharge its responsibilities, it is necessary 
that the FBI keep abreast of all pertinent Klan activities. This can only be 
done through informants and sources who are in a position to report on the 
activities of the various Klan groups. 

In the sensitive atmosphere prevailing in the South today, it is 

imperative that there be no misunderstanding of the FBI 5 s position. The 

FBI takes no position in the problems involved in segregation versus 

integration. It is interested only in fulfilling its obligations in connection 

with violations falling within its investigative jurisdiction. Actual investigation 

by the FBI of individual acts of violence which are solely local violations 

would result in criticism for interfering in local affairs. 

♦Subject to change. See Section 87 EE, Manual of Instructions. 

; ? 

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There is an interesting example which illustrates the necessity of 
avoiding any appearance of interference in local affairs. At a Klan meeting 
at Concord, North Carolina, on October 26, 1957, a photographer and a 
writer of the Concord Tribune were attacked. Imperial Wizard E. L. Edwards 
of the U.S. Klans, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, was charged with assault, 
but was acquitted at a trial held on November 7, 1957. After holding that 
the evidence was not sufficient to prove the charges against Edwards, Judge 
Clyde L. Probst, Jr. , made the following statement: 

"Don’t let the fact that you came up here from Georgia and 
received a fair trial in this court give you or anybody else 
the idea that we encourage the operation of the Klan here. ... I 
view many of the things done in the name of the Klan as very 
little higher than a soldier in a school house — -Little Rock- 
was at one extreme and the Klan is at the other. We don’t 
like anybody coming in from the outside and interfering 
in our affairs. ” 


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